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RFID News Roundup

CAEN RFID intros new specialty UHF RFID tags, UHF e-seal, UHF reader gate; iDTronic intros RFID wristbands, UHF reader gun; the New York Palace streamlines uniform care with RFID; HID Global announces ATEX certification for RFID transponders; Novadis upgrades Nova-Tag for industrial applications; FDA okays RFID-enabled blood-tracking application; Visa Europe sees spike in contactless payments.
By Beth Bacheldor

Novadis Upgrades Nova-Tag for Industrial Applications
Novadis, a Switzerland-based global developer and manufacturer of fasteners, rubber and plastic components, technical films and industrial packaging and identification solutions, has announced upgraded versions of its Nova-Tag, an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tag designed specifically for use in tracking goods in the industrial laundry, leather and textile industries, or for any products that undergo chemical and mechanical stresses. The Nova-Tag family of tags now includes chips from Impinj, NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics, and EM Microelectronic, compliant with either the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C UHF standards, the ISO 15693 and 18000-3 Mode 1 high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz standards, or the ISO 14443A and Near Field Communication (NF) HF standards. The tags are now non-combustible, and are made from specially formulated polymer film that the company claims is extremely resistant to chemicals. According to Novadis, the tags can withstand concentrated acids, alcohols, bases, esters, aliphatic, hydrocarbons, ketones, oils and oxidizing agents. The tags are also now available in a patchable version with a very low bonding temperature and maximum adhesive strength, and can be manufactured in rolls via industrial processing.

FDA Okays RFID-enabled Blood-Tracking Application
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the use of iTrace for Blood Centers, an RFID-enabled tracking and process automation system designed to improve quality and efficiency in the transfusion medicine supply chain, as well as the safety of the blood supply, by preventing the release of unsuitable blood components. iTrace for Blood Centers is made by SysLogic, based in Brookfield, Wis. The iTrace RFID application is designed to augment existing blood bank systems, and to work in conjunction with bar-code identification and labeling processes currently in place. It leverages 13.56 MHz passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags complying with the ISO 15693 standard, as well as associated technology to provide visibility to blood products and their location, movement and status. By using RFID technology in concert with bar codes, iTrace for Blood Centers automates blood bag check-in at donor sites, eliminates line-of-sight requirements for checking in blood products to the manufacturing process, and streamlines the process of preparing blood products for shipment to hospitals or transfusion centers, SysLogic reports. iTrace for Blood Centers can increase workflow efficiency, provide increased inventory visibility, and reduce the cost of compliance in blood product tracking and reconciliation, the company adds. The application interfaces with software to receive and store data used by blood establishments during the manufacturing process, including information related to the blood's collection and component processing, its expiration date and its type (ABO/Rh). The FDA cleared iTrace for Blood Centers based on the submission of a premarket notification, often referred to as a 510(k). The goal of the 510(k) submission process is to demonstrate that the device is at least as safe and effective as—that is, substantially equivalent to—a legally marketed device that had not been subject to a premarket application. In a prepared statement issued by the FDA, Karen Midthun, M.D., the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said iTrace can help ensure blood safety, adding that "iTrace for Blood Centers will be used in blood establishments by trained personnel as a tool in streamlining blood collection and processing and aiding in product tracking and reconciliation." The development of iTrace for Blood Centers was partially funded by two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, along with an early grant from the America's Blood Centers Foundation, a network of nonprofit community blood centers. SysLogic secured the NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I and Phase II grants on behalf of the Transfusion Medicine RFID Consortium, a group that includes blood centers, hospitals, RFID systems experts, and research institutions. Prior to seeking 510(k) clearance, the consortium conducted trials of the iTrace system and submitted the results to the FDA (see Consortium Pilot Finds RFID Improves Efficiency of Blood Supply Chain).

Visa Europe Sees Spike in Contactless Payments
Visa Europe has announced that the European usage of contactless payment technologies has reached a critical point of adoption. According to the company, monthly transaction numbers across Europe reached more than 19 million in March, and more than €1 billion ($1.3 billion) has now been spent on contactless cards and smartphones equipped with a Visa payWave application. Overall, there are 58 million contactless cards in Europe, as well as 797,000 point-of-sale terminals that can be utilized by contactless cards and phones with the Visa payWave app. In the United Kingdom, 1.5 million contactless transactions have been made on buses in London so far this year. The company says that in the United Kingdom, one in four Visa cards is now contactless, with 26.9 million in circulation. The country had 5.3 million contactless transactions in March 2013, worth more than £39 million ($51 million), processed by a total of 232,000 terminals. In addition, other countries are also ramping up their use of contactless cards. In France, there are 6.7 million contactless Visa cards, and Visa Europe expects there will be 16 million such cards in the market by the end of this year. In Poland, there are 10 million contactless transactions every month, while in Slovakia, there were 1 million contactless transactions in March. Visa Europe estimates that in Spain, there will be 7.5 million Visa contactless cards by the end of 2013, up from 2.9 million now, and in Turkey there will be 8.5 million in the market by the end of 2013, up from more than 6 million today. By the end of this year, Visa Europe expects the usage rate of its contactless cards to exceed 52 million contactless transactions per month.

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